ProPublica has a Lean Left bias.
An April 2020 AllSides independent review found that ProPublica's bias is Lean Left. ProPublica's "Zero Tolerance" section on President Trump's immigration policy included mostly pieces about children being separated from their families at the border, with no right-wing perspectives on the policy to be found.
ProPublica's Politics section includes mostly pieces critical of or investigating right-wing leaders, and few pieces on left-wing politicians. Examples of top pieces include:
- No, President Trump, the Coronavirus Is Nothing Like H1N1 Swine Flu Either
- The RNC Gave Big Contracts to Companies Linked to Its Chairwoman’s Husband and Political Backers
- Trump’s New Spy Chief Used to Work for a Foreign Politician the U.S. Accused of Corruption
- Republican National Committee Obscured How Much It Pays Its Chief of Staff
- The Benefits of Being Joe Biden’s Brother
- Donald and Ivanka Trump Were Involved in Inauguration’s Inflated Payments to Family Business, New Suit Says
The independent reviewer also noted some series in ProPublica's Healthcare section used sensationalism, a type of media bias, with series titles such as: "A Sick System," "Heart Failure," "Lost Mothers," and "Wasted Medicine."
Other top pieces at the time of review included left-leaning topics such as, "What ProPublica is Doing About Diversity in 2020," and "The Hate Store: Amazon’s Self-Publishing Arm Is a Haven for White Supremacists."
Accusations of ProPublica Left Bias
A 2011 Fox News Opinion piece, "Why Don't We Hear About Soros' Ties to Over 30 Major News Organizations?" (updated in May 2015), noted that ProPublica "initially was given millions of dollars from the Sandler Foundation to “strengthen the progressive infrastructure” – “progressive” being the code word for very liberal. In 2010, it also received a two-year contribution of $125,000 each year from the Open Society Foundations. In case you wonder where that money comes from, the OSF website is www.soros.org. It is a network of more than 30 international foundations, mostly funded by Soros, who has contributed more than $8 billion to those efforts."
Fox News Opinion noted that ProPublica pieces are "thoroughly researched by top-notch staffers who used to work at some of the biggest news outlets in the nation. But the topics are almost laughably left-wing," citing investigations into "oil companies, gas companies, the health care industry, for-profit schools and more."
ProPublica Media Bias Rating Prior to April 2020
AllSides previously rated ProPublica has having a Center bias. Our President notes that this rating was the result of motivated reasoning — he really wanted ProPublica to be Center. But upon further review, it's just not the case.
AllSides issued an initial bias rating for ProPublica based on the following articles:
- ProPublica Investigations
- ProPublica About Us
- Why Don't We Hear About Soros' Ties to Over 30 Major News Organizations?, Fox News Opinion
- George Soros' War Against Fox News, Investors Business Daily
- ProPublica, GroupSnoop
- ProPublica Launches First Blog, Media Matters for America
- Wash. Examiner pretends conservative journalism org isn't really conservative, Media Matters for America
ProPublica bills itself as "an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest." Its stated Mission is:
To expose abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust by government, business, and other institutions, using the moral force of investigative journalism to spur reform through the sustained spotlighting of wrongdoing.
According to Wikipedia, "ProPublica was the brainchild of Herbert and Marion Sandler, the former chief executives of the Golden West Financial Corporation, who have committed $10 million a year to the project."